Harrison Neal, 17, is one of a growing list of victims from this addiction, experts say
THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- In 2006, when he was 17, Harrison Neal of Tulsa, Okla., died in his sleep after knowingly ingesting prescription drugs meant for someone else.
"We're a very typical middle-class family from Tulsa," his father, Gary Neal, said. "And Harrison was a good kid. . . . He had a 3.5 grade average, a beautiful girlfriend, tons of very good friends, and he enjoyed all the normal kid stuff. "
But Harrison Neal was also addicted to prescription drugs, a fact that was well-known to his family, who supported him in his struggle to overcome that addiction.
On the evening before Thanksgiving, after an afternoon spent deer hunting with his dad, Harrison went out with friends.
"He had a couple of drinks, took some prescription drugs, and some over-the-counter cold medicine he was taking for a cold he was fighting," Gary Neal said quietly and slowly. "And then he went to sleep. And he never woke up."
The medical examiner's office determined that Harrison died from "acute combined drug toxicity."
Neal, a lawyer and father of four, recounted his family's experience to attendees gathered recently in New York City for the launch of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America's (PDFA) new Web site, NotInMyHouse.com.
The site, sponsored by pharmaceutical company Abbott, aims to educate the public about the growing problem of teen prescription drug addiction. Each day, 2,500 teens in America turn to prescription drugs to get high for the first time. The drugs of choice, most typically, are pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers and stimulants, according to PDFA.
PDFA organizers say the Not in My House Web site is aimed at helping parents better understand the addictive vulnerability of the teen brain, while providing some insight into the vernacular and
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